Neilson relieved as Hearts pushed all the way by St Mirren

The win at Tynecastle moved Hearts up to second in the league.

Neilson relieved as Hearts pushed all the way by St Mirren SNS Group

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson was thrilled to see his team climb up to second in the Cinch Premiership but admitted they were made to work for the three points in the 2-0 win against 10-man St Mirren.

The Gorgie outfit rode their luck before breaking the deadlock in the second half through Gary Mackay-Steven.

Stephen Kingsley doubled Hearts’ lead with a sublime free-kick to ensure the hosts bounced back from last weekend’s defeat at Motherwell.

However, Neilson candidly acknowledged St Mirren, who registered 19 attempts on goal, made life difficult for his team.

Neilson said: “We’re pleased to be second, we had a chance to do it last week and didn’t do it and had a chance to do it today and managed to get there.

“For us it’s more about winning games and we’ve been doing really well at Tynecastle.

“St Mirren are a very good team, they press really well, they stop you trying to play and they’ve got three players up front that can really influence the game in Eamonn Brophy, Jamie McGrath and Connor Ronan.

“They’re a threat, I think they’ll take points off a lot of teams, they’ll win a lot of games this season.

“We knew first half they would come and do that, then it’s up to us to try and play through it.

“In these games the first goal is always going to be key, we managed to get it and then they need to open up and then we can go and play.”

Neilson, meanwhile, allayed fears Beni Baningime had suffered a serious injury after the midfielder was forced to leave the pitch on a stretcher in the second half.

He added: “I think he will be alright.

“He is up and walking about and showering. I think he just got more of a shock at the time.

“He twisted his knee a wee bit and the physio went on and he was stretchered off so he will be getting a bit of stick if he is training tomorrow.”

St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin, who had skipper Joe Shaughnessy sent off in stoppage time for a second booking, admits his team need to be more ruthless when they are on top.

He said: “The big frustration for me is at 0-0 we’re the better team.

“I’m not saying we were miles better but I thought we were on top for the first 45 minutes, we pressed Hearts aggressively up the pitch, we played some good football and probably had the better opportunities.

“Those key moments in the games are really coming back to bite us.

“Same last week against Livingston, we should have been two or three up and get done with a sucker punch in the last minute.” 

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